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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant book for wreck divers
This is a great book about diving the Andrea Doria dealing mostly with the deaths that have occured and how they happened. If you have been around this type of diving for awhile you will recognize most of the people mentioned and quoted (Billy Deans, John Chatterton, Gary Gentile and so on). The deaths and the events leading up to them are described in graphic detail...
Published on May 21, 2001 by Dave Grimm

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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading, but technically weak
I found Deep Descent to be good reading, albeit weaker technically than it should have been. The author states he has many years of experience, but the reality is, he has one year of experience, many times. He was NOT a very advanced diver, rather a diver with novice experiences, over many years. One picture in the book has a caption that explains we are looking at the...
Published on August 6, 2001 by Sailfish55


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant book for wreck divers, May 21, 2001
By 
Dave Grimm (Warriors Mark, PA United States) - See all my reviews
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This is a great book about diving the Andrea Doria dealing mostly with the deaths that have occured and how they happened. If you have been around this type of diving for awhile you will recognize most of the people mentioned and quoted (Billy Deans, John Chatterton, Gary Gentile and so on). The deaths and the events leading up to them are described in graphic detail including several photos of the dead divers being recovered. Kevin McMurray goes into great detail in terms of analyzing the accidents including what boat they were diving on, who they were diving with, type of gas being used, type of equipment, the dive plan and such. No attempt was made to sugar coat the tragic events, just the hard details and facts with enough background information on each diver to help you better understand the complete picture.
This book was definetly not written for or about recreational diving. No single tank air dives on pretty tropical reefs and 82 degree water. This book is about hard core wreck divers pushing the limits in deep cold water with poor vis and strong currents.
If you enjoyed 'Last Dive' then you will surely like this book. I know that I couldn't put the book down.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every technical diver should read this book!, September 5, 2001
Kevin McMurray gives readers a glimpse into the real-life adventures of divers who brave the cold, dark waters of the Atlantic to visit the wreck of the Andrea Doria. The author's research is sound, the information he presents on the physiology of hyperbaric medicine and technical diving techniques is accurate, and his portraits of the men and women whose lives and work are most identified with Doria diving seem fair and unbiased.
Comparisons between Deep Descent and Bernie Chowdhury's recent book The Last Dive are inevitable, since both cover the experiences of people who have lost their lives diving deep wrecks. In my opinion, McMurray's book is the more readable and his coverage of the technology associated with the sport are presented in a more organized (and less repetitive) way. Not that Chowdhury's book isn't good--simply keep in mind that reviewers who like it better than Deep Descent are expressing an opinion, not a truth.
Yes, there are several textual errors in McMurray's book that should have been noticed by the copy editor, but they are few in number and don't detract from the overall story. I thoroughly enjoy each book written by Doria pioneer Gary Gentile, despite the copy errors (in fact, I recommend Gentile's Andrea Doria: Dive to an Era for some truly gripping accounts of the author's own dives into the bowels of the great liner).
I can recommend Deep Descent without hesitation to every diver who has, or wants to, dive any shipwreck at any depth at any time. Sadly, some of the most valuable lessons for technical divers are learned by examining the fatal mistakes made by others.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading, but technically weak, August 6, 2001
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I found Deep Descent to be good reading, albeit weaker technically than it should have been. The author states he has many years of experience, but the reality is, he has one year of experience, many times. He was NOT a very advanced diver, rather a diver with novice experiences, over many years. One picture in the book has a caption that explains we are looking at the data on a dive computer. Actually, it's not a computer, but a bottom timer. Apparently a minor distinction, but not to a true technical diver. Chowdhury's book is far better technically, in addition to being great reading. I can recommend Deep Descent, but I can't rave about it. Read it, but don't expect to be glued to it like you were to The Last Dive.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could NOT Put This Book Down, October 10, 2005
By 
Jane E. Rockley (Santa Ana, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Deep Descent: Adventure and Death Diving the Andrea Doria (Paperback)
I agree with several of the other reviewers with regard to the page-turning quality of this book. A fascinating, deadly, frightening, solemn, lesson-worthy book about scuba diving, its dangers and appeal. I am a scuba diver who is extremely conservative and would never dream of diving to the depth these people had to dive to bring up china and other artifacts from the sunken Andrea Doria. I am in awe of the bravery and expertise that it takes to do such a deep and complicated wreck dive, but I was also very well warned that, even the best divers, with hundreds of dives to their credit, ended up dead diving this wreck. The Andrea Doria has captured the imagination of many divers. It was heartbreaking and frightening to see how quickly good, practised divers lost their lives in their pursuit of "knicknacks". This book is a warning to all divers, and a can't-put-down read for everyone.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The mind is supreme and the mind is falliable...", January 1, 2006
This review is from: Deep Descent: Adventure and Death Diving the Andrea Doria (Paperback)
This book is most definitely required reading for divers at any level, but especially those who dive wrecks. It's been said that the Andrea Doria is the Mt. Everest for divers in terms of sheer difficulty and, based on the narratives in this book, I'm inclined to agree.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good wreck diving history, but not spell-binding writing, July 7, 2001
By 
Dr. Dianne M. Strong (Yona, GU United States) - See all my reviews
McMurray's book is a great historical contribution to diving history, but it lacks the EMOTIONAL IMPACT of Bernie Chowdhury's THE LAST DIVE. While factual and interesting, this book did NOT move me. I don't think this author's writing holds a candle to Bernie's book, even though McMurray is a professional writer and well-published author. I found the numerous typos, spelling errors and awkward writing very distracting. As a diver, I think about the lessons of THE LAST DIVE almost daily. McMurray's book is worth reading, but should have been better edited. I think the Doria's victims deserve better.
StrongDiver
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written diving adventure book, October 25, 2006
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This review is from: Deep Descent: Adventure and Death Diving the Andrea Doria (Paperback)
This very focused book centers around the Italian Cruise liner Andrea Doria that sank in 1956, and those who seek her out by diving down almost 250 feet to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. What makes this wreck special is the ship's grand magnificence, the relatively recent sinking, and the depth that is just at the edge of where advanced wreck divers can go. The Doria has also yielded an unusual amount of "artifacts," mementos that divers retrieve from a wreck (in this case mostly China). As a result of all this, the Andrea Doria has been called the "Mount Everest of diving," the ultimate adventure. And just like Mount Everest has claimed many victims, so has the Andrea Doria.

Author Kevin F. McMurray is not only an award-winning internationally acclaimed journalist and photographer, but also an expert scuba diver and swimmer. As a result, his insight into what it takes to dive the Andrea Doria is that of someone who has actually been there and done it, several times, and he is describing the experience in a style that is thoroughly enjoyable to read. It is rare that a professional writer is also an accomplished expert in the field he is writing about, and that is what makes this book special. It is both a spellbindingly told documentary and an adventure story. McMurray is factual at all times, yet never gets tedious. And while he follows a timeline and the book is broken down into individual sections and adventures, it all flows together and is not just a collection of thoughts.

The Andrea Doria sank when she collided with another ship, the Stockholm, about 50 miles south of Nantucket and 100 miles east of New York City. It was a freak accident where blame is still being discussed 50 years later. Due to the slow sinking and an excellent rescue effort, all but 51 of the 1,700 onboard were saved. Tragically, the resting location of the Doria, just within reach of deep divers, would claim a good many more victims, most excellently trained and experienced divers seeking adventure and the ultimate thrill. Their story is what McMurray's book is all about. That and of the two primary charter boats bringing divers to the Andrea Doria, the Wahoo and the Seeker.

Deep Descent doesn't pull any punches in telling the story of the Doria, its sinking, and in describing the people who have been seeking her out. The author knows those people, has lived with them, dived with them, interviewed them. The book is loosely organized along a timeline from the ship's sinking in 1956 to approximately 2000 (Deep Descent was published in 2001). It always describes the backgrounds of the characters, their careers, their personalities, and provides extra information on gear, technologies, organizations, feuds, etc., when necessary. Not too much, not too little, just so the reader gets the full picture. The reader is there when divers go down, encounter problems and either escape them, or not. We also learn about the rapid advances in diving science and equipment over the years, with the early "cowboys" of deep diving gradually giving way to technical divers using a variety of breathing gasses and increasingly expensive high tech gear.

Adding to the enjoyment of reading Deep Descent are numerous photos. And they are not just the usual set of beauty shots combined in a section in the center of the book. Instead, they are interspersed throughout the book, adding illustration. Several show dead and dying divers, though not in graphic detail. McMurray doesn't pull any punches. Unfortunately, all pictures are in black-and-white. This is one book where I'd gladly have paid more for color!

McMurray is remarkably unbiased in telling his story. Though he is one of the few qualified enough to dive the Andrea Doria, there is a humility in his words and no bragging at all. His accounts are non-judgmental and present all sides of arguments. There are the usual hints of dismissing older divers or those considered overweight, but there are no other biases.

Deep Descent is great reading, both for divers who will appreciate the expertly presented technical details, and for a general audience that is treated to a terrific adventure book. This is one I found hard to put down, a real page-turner. Since 2001 when the book was published, the Andrea Doria has continued to deteriorate, and a couple more divers died. It would be interesting to get a full update on the ship's fate. -- C. H. Blickenstorfer, scubadiverinfo.com
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graveyard of the Sea Gods, February 4, 2003
By 
Nick Nalepa (Greenville, SC, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
McMurray's book is a page-turner; good luck trying to put it down. This is the compelling tale of early diving on the Andrea Doria before the common availability of mixed gasses and advanced technical dive equipment for sport scuba. The divers in this book were (are) the "sea-gods", masters of their sport, and yet the Doria quest dragged several of them to their final doom. The book describes the challenges, techniques and tactics of attempting a trip down to the "Everest of Scuba Diving", how the quest has evolved with the sport over time, and what went wrong for those who failed to return from their voyage to the bottom of the Atlantic. The story is gripping, and the narrative is instructional without resorting to dull, textbook explanations of diving. A must read for any wreck diver.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling, November 6, 2006
For those of us who will never witness a deep sea wreck, we can vicariously experience the rush of such an adventure through Kevin McMurray's engaging writing. As an eyewitness of the Andrea Doria shipwreck, the author pulls us into the depths and within the hull of the Grand Dame of the sea. His eyewitness descriptions, along with those of other divers, reveal the inner voices of master divers like no other diving accounts I have read. Mr. McMurray journalistic skills brings me on a sentimental descent without the risks of the "raptures" of the sea.

Pierette Domenica Simpson
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for Divers and Non-Divers, February 3, 2002
I am a recreational diver with an avid love of the sport. This book takes us into an area of diving that is unknown to all but a daring few. Most certifying agencies set a depth limit of 130 feet as the safe zone. The participants in this book are only getting wet at 130 feet. They break all the rules of the recreational diver by going deeper and longer than is ever recommended for safety. As a result many of these adventurers loose their lives in the pursuit of this "living on the edge" mentality. It is obvious, after reading this book, why these limits are set. Determining decompression formulas for the different exotic gas that are needed to survive are a matter of life and death. A diver who has problems at the depths described in this book must fix those problems underwater or suffer a painful and very likely certain death.
Few places remain unexplored on this small planet we live on. The depths of the oceans are one of the most hostile environments, while at the same time being an area we know very little about. The drive to get artifacts is such a driving factor that many of these men and, yes a few women, risk their lives of a piece of china. The book does a nice job of exploring what makes these daring individuals tick. Most seem to love the high adventure this type of very dangerous diving affords them.
A chapter on the sinking of the Andrea Doria is well written and gives us a ringside seat of one of the worst collisions in maritime history. Mr. McMurray tells the story of the collision in such a way that he has your palms sweating.
The book is all the more interesting as Mr. McMurray tells of the conflicts between dive boat Captains in this very competitive industry. The book has a nice selection of photographs of the people who are described. Some of the vivid descriptions of the circumstances by which divers, who make mistakes, end up meeting their demise are not for the faint of heart. It is very evident from Mr. McMurray's detailed accounts of the events that this is one sport that is extremely hostile and unforgiving. The last chapter, giving a follow-up of what has become of those daring enough to dive the "Doria" and survive is very interesting. Some insights into why some continue while others no longer seek the calls of the deep makes for interesting reading into what the experience of diving the Doria has done to their bodies and perspectives on life.
The book is written to be of great interest to those knowledgeable of scuba; while at the same time is full of descriptions of the terminology so the non-diver will also enjoy the true and often tragic adventures of those who tempt fate far beneath the waves.
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Deep Descent: Adventure and Death Diving the Andrea Doria
Deep Descent: Adventure and Death Diving the Andrea Doria by Kevin F. McMurray (Paperback - July 9, 2002)
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